Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Apostle of the Sacred Heart of Jesus: St Margaret Mary Alacoque.

"Do you hold his [God's] priceless kindness, forbearance, and patience in low esteem, unaware that the kindness of God would lead you to repentance?" (Romans 2: 4).

Wednesday of the 28th week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Margaret Mary Alacoque, Virgin (1647 - 1690). What do you know about Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus? First, this is an ancient devotion going back to many centuries before St Margaret Mary. But beginning in 1673, this young French nun started having mystical revelations concerning devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Although it took about 100 years for the devotion to gain Church approval, it rapidly spread all over the world. Schools, hospitals, universities, Churches and Basilicas are named after the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Our daily Scripture verse for today warns us about holding in low esteem "God's priceless kindness, forbearance, and patience."

Jesus promises 12 great favors to those who honor His Sacred Heart. Please do not hold these promises below in low esteem.

The Twelve Promises of the Sacred Heart to St. Margaret Mary

1. I will give them all the graces necessary for their state of life.   

2. I will give peace in their families.

3. I will console them in all their troubles.

4. They shall find in My Heart an assured refuge during life and especially at the hour of death.

5. I will pour abundant blessings on all their undertakings.

6. Sinners shall find in My Heart the source and infinite ocean of mercy.

7. Tepid souls shall become fervent.

8. Fervent souls shall speedily rise to great perfection.

9. I will bless the homes in which the image of My Sacred Heart shall be exposed and honored.

10. I will give to priests the power to touch the most hardened hearts.

11. Those who propagate this devotion shall have their name written in My Heart, and it shall never be effaced.

12. The all-powerful love of My Heart will grant to all those who shall receive Communion on the First Friday of nine consecutive months the grace of final repentance; they shall not die under My displeasure, nor without receiving their Sacraments; My Heart shall be their assured refuge at that last hour.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Monday, October 14, 2019

The feast of the Mystic and Reformer, St Teresa of Avila.

"Like the deer that yearns for running streams, so my soul is yearning for you, my God; my soul is thirsting for God, the living God." (Cf Psalm 41: 2 - 3).

Tuesday of the 28th week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Teresa of Avila (1515 - 1582), Virgin and Doctor of the Church. St Teresa played a key role in the reformation of the Carmelite Order. Aided by St John of the Cross, they largely succeeded in this arduous task. St Teresa is best remembered for her outstanding works in ascetical and mystical theology which earned her the title of Doctor of the Church. Her books continue to be popular today.

What does your soul yearn for more than anything else? Power, pleasure or fame? For St Teresa of Avila, to understand her, consider the Entrance Antiphon, our Scripture of today:
"Like the deer that yearns for running streams, so my soul is yearning for you, my God; my soul is thirsting for God, the living God."

Teresa's great love for God gave her great confidence in the all loving and powerful Providence of God.
"Let nothing trouble you,
let nothing frighten you.
All things are passing;
God never changes.
Patience obtains all things.
He who possesses God lacks nothing: God alone suffices."  (St Teresa of Avila).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Your life purpose is hidden in Sacred Scriptures.

"Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God." (Romans 1: 1).

Monday of the 28th week in Ordinary Time. Have you found your purpose in life? Purpose drives mission. Those who have made the greatest contribution to the world know their purpose. One of the things that attracted me to the study of Holy Scriptures is the promise that I will find my purpose in the Sacred Library. I was not disappointed.

It is true that your purpose is hidden in the Sacred Scriptures. God created us for a purpose. Jesus defines His purpose thus:
"For this I was born and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth." (John 18: 37). He further says: “I am the way and the truth and the life." (John 14: 6).

Our Daily Bible Verse today sees how Paul defines his purpose. Note that he calls himself "a slave of Jesus Christ." That is to say: Total commitment, undivided loyalty. Paul's Master says: "You cannot serve two masters at the same time." Serving two masters will create divided loyalty. Note that Paul was not shy of claiming to be: "called to be an apostle and set apart for the gospel of God." When you find your purpose through the Divine Scriptures or by whatever means, you too will have no false modesty in sharing it. Because purpose and mission are intertwined.

Through God's Divine Providence, we tend towards our purpose as the sunflower to the sun.

"To you all, then, who are God’s beloved [in Rome], called to be saints, may God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ send grace and peace." (Romans 1:7).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Do not deny God your sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving.

"And one of them [leper], realizing he had been healed, returned, glorifying God in a loud voice;  and he fell at the feet of Jesus and thanked him. He was a Samaritan." (Luke 17: 15 - 16).

Sunday of the 28th week in Ordinary Time. The first Reading from 2 Kings and the Gospel from St Luke point us to Prayer of Thanksgiving. “Ten were cleansed, were they not? Where are the other nine?" Asked Jesus. Was Jesus hurt that ten lepers who were healed of the terrible malady of leprosy walked away without giving thanks. I bet he was. Here is why:

Worship is at the heart religion. At the heart of worship is Thanksgiving. God does not eat steak, barbecue or drink champagne or wine. He has no need for gold or silver. God feeds on: "Sacrifice of thanksgiving." And again in the same Psalm 50: "Pay your sacrifice of thanksgiving to God." Imperative!

Do not walk away after realizing that you are pregnant, got the job, home, health, money, etc, Return and Give Thanks.

The Church teaches on Thanksgiving:
"Thanksgiving characterizes the prayer of the Church which, in celebrating the Eucharist, reveals and becomes more fully what she is. Indeed, in the work of salvation, Christ sets creation free from sin and death to consecrate it anew and make it return to the Father, for his glory. The thanksgiving of the members of the Body participates in that of their Head." (CCC 2637).

Do not deny God your sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Friday, October 11, 2019

God's word never fails.

"Blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it." (Luke 11: 28).

Saturday of the 27th week in Ordinary Time. Do you truly want to be blessed? Do you desire happiness above all things? Let us listen to the Blessed One, the Master teach us the secret of happiness.

First, note that Jesus points to His Mother Mary as a truly blessed One. She is "full of grace."
Blessedness, happiness (makarios) occurs 15 times in Luke.
In Luke 1: 45, Elizabeth pronounced Mary a blessed One for hearing God's incredible promise and believing it. In Matthew and Luke, the Beatitudes bring happiness and a blessed state.

Our Gospel pick for today gives us a sure, tried, proven means of being blessed:
"Blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it." Faith comes from hearing the word of God. The word of God is so powerful because God is in His word. The word of God brings wisdom, knowledge, understanding, counsel, piety and fear of the Lord.
Do not forget that another name for Jesus is the "the word of God."

It is not possible to hear the word of God, understand it and not observe it. This is because the word of God is the word of life. But Jesus added for emphasis in our Scripture for today: "Blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it."

All things are established in the will (word) of God and nothing can resist God's will (word). (Cf Esther 4: 7).

John the Evangelist teaches that observing the word of God is not difficult. "In fact, this is love for God: to keep his commands. And his commands are not burdensome." (1 John 5: 3).

Let us ask God to open our eyes to the beauty of His word and give us the grace to keep it so that we can enjoy happiness here on earth and life everlasting.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Thursday, October 10, 2019

You Jesus are the Lord of all.

"Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters." (Luke 11: 23).

Friday of the 27th week in Ordinary Time. Are you for Jesus or against Him? How do you know where you stand with Jesus? Ready for the test?

#1 Are you aligned with the mind of Jesus on the poor and the homeless?
#2 Are you helping as a shepherd to attract people to the Church or scattering them in all directions?
#3 What is your attitude to orphans, widows and immigrants?
#4 Where do you stand on life issues? 50% or 100%?

These are just a few questions. You see clearly that there can be no neutral position on these questions. No "Independents." You are either working with Jesus or hurting the cause of Jesus. Decide today to work with Jesus in building up His Kingdom.

"But first and most importantly seek (aim at, strive after) His kingdom and His righteousness [His way of doing and being right—the attitude and character of God], and all these things will be given to you also." (Matthew 6: 33 AMP).

Jesus is the Lord of all the creation.
"Within your will, O Lord, all things are established, and there is none that can resist your will. For you have made all things, the heaven and the earth, and all that is held within the circle of heaven; you are the Lord of all." (Cf Esther 4: 17).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Wednesday, October 09, 2019

I will rebel against the Lord. No more prayers. No Mass. No nothing.

“It is vain to serve God, and what do we profit by keeping his command, and going about in penitential dress in awe of the Lord of hosts? Rather must we call the proud blessed; for indeed evildoers prosper, and even tempt God with impunity.” (Malachi 3: 14 - 15).

Thursday of the 27th week in Ordinary Time. I am enjoying the comforting message from the Prophet Malachi in the first Reading. Have you ever wondered why individuals or nations who do not fear the Lord seem to prosper while those who keep His laws and wait upon Him appear to lack everything? Well, you are not alone. We may say that this is the perennial preoccupation of the prophets.

Now consider this: What if you rebel against God and say: No more prayers or Mass! No more Bible reading or study! No more tithing or fasting! Will the rebellion help you in any way? Of course not. Our destiny is in the hands of God.
"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows." (James 1: 17).

On Sunday, we read how God answered Prophet Habakkuk:
"Write down the vision clearly upon the tablets, so that one can read it readily. For the vision still has its time, presses on to ful­fillment, and will not disappoint; if it delays, wait for it, it will surely come, it will not be late." (Habakkuk 2: 2 - 3).

Today God answers the Prophet Malachi:
"The Lord listened attentively; And a record book was written before him of those who fear the Lord and trust in his name. And they shall be mine, says the Lord of hosts, my own special possession, on the day I take action. And I will have compassion on them, as a man has compassion on his son who serves him. Then you will again see the distinction between the just and the wicked; Between the one who serves God, and the one who does not serve him." (Malachi 3: 16 - 18).

Message: If you serve the Lord, be patient. Learn to wait for the Lord. In the fullness of time, the Lord will bless you mightily.

"The Lord is wonderfully good to those who wait for him, to those who seek for him.  It is good both to hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord." (Lamentations 3: 25 - 26 TLB).

"Humble yourselves, therefore, under God's mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time." (1 Peter 5: 6).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Tuesday, October 08, 2019

Why we pray every day "Your Kingdom Come."

“Lord, teach us to pray... “When you pray, say:... your kingdom come." (Luke 11: 1 - 2).

Wednesday of the 27th week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Denis. The first Bishop of Paris died with his companion martyrs under the persecution of Emperor Valerian about 258 AD.

Jesus teaches us to ask the Father every day: "Your Kingdom come." What does Jesus mean? First, the Kingdom is the realm, domain where the King exercises authority. The King makes laws but unlike earthly kingdoms has no need to enforce the laws. The Church is the seed and the beginning of the Kingdom of God on earth.

We pray for the coming of the Kingdom of God every day because the Kingdom of God is the means of Restoration of mankind to fullness of salvation. Christ's death, Resurrection and Ascension ushered the inauguration of the Kingdom.

When we open our hearts and minds to the reign of King Jesus over our Time, Talent and Treasure, we are sincerely praying for "Your Kingdom come!" When we participate in the work of evangelization, catechesis, spiritual and corporal works of mercy, God is using us mightily in building up His Kingdom on earth. As the Church grows every day in charity, the Kingdom of God or what St John the Evangelist calls Eternal life is growing.

Be active builders of the Kingdom of God.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Monday, October 07, 2019

Mary has chosen the better part.

“Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things. There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.” (Luke 10: 41 - 42).

Tuesday of the 27th week in Ordinary Time. If someone asks you this question: What is the one thing necessary in your life? How would you respond? To be in good health? To have a beautiful family? To have plenty of money? To have a great job or your own business? To have great home with everything in it? To have a pantry filled with good and exotic food?

In today's Gospel Reading, Jesus invites us to consider carefully our priorities. Martha hurriedly welcomed Jesus in her home and dived right back into the kitchen. When she emerged after some thirty minutes, she said: “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me by myself to do the serving? Tell her to help me.”

How do you welcome the presence of Jesus in Prayer? When you read the word of God? In the Blessed Sacrament and in the Eucharist? With an eye on your watch? Anxiously trying to anticipate the next deadline?

In the first Reading, Jonah successfully preached the message of repentance. Our Martha would have been very busy in the kitchen and missed the message of the Prophet. Correct thought is the key to correct action.

Jesus is saying to us today that He is the King and where He is, there is the Kingdom. If we seek first His Kingdom and His manner of doing things, every other thing will fall into place. (Cf Matthew 6: 33).

Lord Jesus, open our hearts and minds to the truth that makes us free.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Sunday, October 06, 2019

Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary.

"Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with you. Blessed are you among women and blessed is the fruit of your womb." (Cf Luke 1: 28,42).

Monday of the 27th week in Ordinary Time is the feast Our Lady of the Rosary. I shared with a friend after Mass this weekend how I attribute my metanoia to the power of the Holy Rosary. In recognition and gratitude for such a momentous grace, I have said the Rosary every day for almost 25 years. Incredibly powerful prayer.

No prayer in the Church's Treasury of Grace has been commended and recommended by Pontiffs, Doctors of the Church and saints for centuries as the Rosary. This is what the Church says about Marian devotions and especially the Holy Rosary:

"All generations will call me blessed": "The Church's devotion to the Blessed Virgin is intrinsic to Christian worship." The Church rightly honors "the Blessed Virgin with special devotion. From the most ancient times the Blessed Virgin has been honored with the title of 'Mother of God,' to whose protection the faithful fly in all their dangers and needs. . . . This very special devotion . . . differs essentially from the adoration which is given to the incarnate Word and equally to the Father and the Holy Spirit, and greatly fosters this adoration." The liturgical feasts dedicated to the Mother of God and Marian prayer, such as the rosary, an "epitome of the whole Gospel," express this devotion to the Virgin Mary." (CCC 971).

Pope St John Paul II wrote àpropos the Holy Rosary:
"The Church has always attributed particular efficacy to this prayer, entrusting to the Rosary, to its choral recitation and to its constant practice, the most difficult problems. At times when Christianity itself seemed under threat, its deliverance was attributed to the power of this prayer, and Our Lady of the Rosary was acclaimed as the one whose intercession brought salvation." (Rosarium Virginis Mariae, #39).

The Rosary is a prayer that will never disappoint you.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Saturday, October 05, 2019

Our God is the God of Divine Providence and not of Chance.

"Write down the vision clearly upon the tablets, so that one can read it readily. For the vision still has its time, presses on to ful­fillment, and will not disappoint; if it delays, wait for it, it will surely come, it will not be late." (Habakkuk 2: 2 - 3).

Sunday of the 27th week in Ordinary Time. What a feast of Sacred Scriptures we enjoy this Sunday.

In the first Reading today, God asks the Prophet Habakkuk to write down the answer to what He plans to do in the future. Every plan, vision of God is for its intended time. Abraham and Sarah were promised a son. When this promise was fulfilled 25 years later, Sarah sang that it had pleased God to fulfill His promise at the time of His own choosing. Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist praised God for answering her prayers for a son at His chosen time. In the fullness of time, the Angel Gabriel visited Mary of Nazareth and announced the birth of the Messiah.

Search throughout Sacred Scripture, you will not find anything  happening by haphazard. Our God is a Father of Divine Providence and not a god of Chance. Your future and your destiny does not belong to lottery or gambling. It is not from any chance that your comfort and happiness springs. Every joy, every good thing you enjoy in life comes from God's gracious ordaining.

Thank You O Faithful Father. I have learned that You are a Father who keeps His promises. You asked me to write down my dream so that I do forget it. I nearly forgot it but You reminded me and restored my dream. Thank You Father.

"Within your will, O Lord, all things are established, and there is none that can resist your will. For you have made all things, the heaven and the earth, and all that is held within the circle of heaven; you are the Lord of all." (Cf Esther 4: 17).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Friday, October 04, 2019

Are you aware of the power of the name of Jesus?

“Lord, even the demons are subject to us because of your name.” (Luke 10: 17).

Saturday of the 26th week in Ordinary Time. Do you believe in demons? Do you believe in angels? How irrational it is to believe in one and not in the other.

I believe in demons because the Sacred Scriptures reveal and teach it. I believe in demons because holy Mother Church teaches it. I believe in demons because I had contended with demons and lost many battles. But today, thanks to the Name of Jesus, I win more battles than I lose.

“Lord, even the demons are subject to us because of your name.” The name of Jesus is the Person of Jesus. The name of Jesus is the Power of Jesus. The name of Jesus is the Presence of Jesus. Jesus ordered us to bear witness to the power of His name. His disciples were ecstatic when they discovered the power of the name of Jesus. You too will experience unbelievable joy when you discover the power of this name.

How do you activate this power? When you remember Jesus, He promises to be present. You remember Jesus by calling His sweet name, by looking at His picture, by reading His word, by receiving Him in the Eucharist.  Form the habit of saying this sweet name often. The name of Jesus is a full prayer. By calling on His name often, you strengthen yourself against the snares and wiles of the enemy of mankind who prowl the world looking for easy victories.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Thursday, October 03, 2019

Feast of St Francis of Assisi.

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 5: 3).

Friday of the 26th week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Francis of Assisi and the First Friday in October.

Who is St Francis of Assisi? (1182 - 1226). He became famous for imitating closely the poverty of Jesus Christ in spirit and in deed. Holiness always attracts. Francis soon attracted a group of like-minded young men who bound themselves together to live evangelical poverty, chastity and obedience. Our Lord Jesus Christ, Head of the Church has used simple men like Francis and the Franciscans to renew the Church which is ever in need of reform. Other pivotal figures raised up by Jesus for the renewal of the Church are:
Benedict, Clare, Dominic, Ignatius Loyola, Teresa of Avila, etc.

Are you the next great Saint?

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus this Friday.

October 4, 2019 - First Friday in October.

The 12 Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus:  Jesus promised 12 special favors to all those who will honor His Sacred Heart especially on the First Friday of every month.  In the 10th month of the year 2019, we look at Promise #10.

#10.  "I will give to priests the power to touch the most hardened hearts."

Do not think: "I am not excited by this promise.  I am not a priest."  Error! We are all baptized and by virtue of this Baptism are priests, princes and prophets. Of course, Jesus Christ chose a tiny percentage of men and configured them to be ministerial priests to celebrate the Sacraments.  The first mission of the Church is evangelization.  You see where the 10th Promise is relevant for you?  Moreover, the first 3 Spiritual Works of Mercy instruct us:
#1. Instruct the ignorant.
#2. Counsel the doubtful.
#3. Admonish sinners.

Jesus promises to give you power to touch the most hardened of sinners.  They could be family. They could be friends or neighbors.  Will you refuse such a gift?

Honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus this Friday by attending Holy Mass.

For the 12 Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, click the link below:

http://sfjweb.com/?q=content/sacred-heart-12-promises

Seekfirstcommunity.com

Wednesday, October 02, 2019

The kingdom of God is here.

"The kingdom of God is at hand for you." (Luke 10: 9).

Thursday of the 26th week in Ordinary Time. Jesus appointed 72 disciples and sent them out on practice evangelization. He gave them a precise talking point. No beating about the bush. No disputations. No arguments. Just a simple message:
‘The kingdom of God is at hand for you.’

We have seen that Jesus has magnificent obsession for the Kingdom. The Teacher knows that those who are ready will receive and understand this code. Mind you, Israel has been waiting for the Kingdom to come for centuries. Isaiah has prophesied it. John the Baptist came as a herald to prepare for it. Now Jesus commissioned 72 disciples to announce the imminent breakout of the Kingdom.

What is the Kingdom of God? The Kingdom of God is the Reign of God. There cannot be a Kingdom without a King. ‘The kingdom of God is at hand for you.’ This is a code to alert the chosen ones that the King has arrived. Jesus is the King. But this King is different from worldly kings. He was born of the Virgin Mary in a manger. He was an apprentice carpenter and then a self-employed carpenter for all his working life. What do you make of this humble King?

The Church teaches that the Church is the seed of the Kingdom of God on earth.

"The kingdom of heaven was inaugurated on earth by Christ. "This kingdom shone out before men in the word, in the works and in the presence of Christ" (LG 5). The Church is the seed and beginning of this kingdom. Its keys are entrusted to Peter." (CCC 567).

Does the King Jesus reign in every situation in your life?

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Tuesday, October 01, 2019

Angel of God my Guardian and my Friend...

“See that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my heavenly Father." (Matthew 18: 10).

Wednesday of the 26th week in Ordinary Time is the feast of Our Guardian Angels. God blessed me with Christian parents. One of the legacies they bequeathed to me is strong devotion to my Guardian Angel. As an active and adventurous boy, I know how many times my Friend saved me from peril. Today I honor my Guardian Angel with a sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving.

This is what the Church says of Guardian Angels: "From its beginning until death, human life is surrounded by their watchful care and intercession. "Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life." Already here on earth the Christian life shares by faith in the blessed company of angels and men united in God." (CCC 336).

"Receive, O Lord, the offerings we bring before you as we venerate your holy Angels, and graciously grant that under their constant protection we may be delivered from present dangers and brought happily to life eternal. Through Christ our Lord." (Offertory Prayer on the Feast of the Guardian Angels).

The Angel of God my Guardian and dear Friend, thank you for your protection. Continue to enlighten and guard me till my last breath. Amen!

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Monday, September 30, 2019

Feast of St Therese, the Little Flower.

"Blessed are you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for revealing the mysteries of the kingdom to mere children." (Matthew 11: 25).

Tuesday of the 26th week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Therese of Lisieux (1873 - 1897), also called Therese of the Child Jesus and the Little Flower. Therese is Virgin and the youngest of the 35 Doctors of the Church. She died at the age of 24.

Father God loved her Little Flower, the Lily of Carmel and lavished on her immense spiritual favors. I like very much the application of Deuteronomy 32: 10 - 12 to this humble French Carmelite nun:

"The Lord led her and taught her,
and kept her as the apple of his eye. Like an eagle spreading its wings he took her up and bore her on his shoulders. The Lord alone was her guide." (Deuteronomy 32: 10 - 12).

Unlike other Doctors of the Church, Therese left us one book: THE STORY OF A SOUL, a best seller of all time. This is the autobiography of the Saint detailing how God taught her and through her taught the world simple principles of holiness.

"Thus says the Lord:
Unless you turn and become like children, you will not enter the Kingdom of Heaven." (Matthew 18: 3).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Sunday, September 29, 2019

Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ.

"The Son of Man came to serve
and to give his life as a ransom for many." (Mark 10: 45, Gospel Acclamation).

Monday of the 26th week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Jerome, Priest and Doctor of the Church (342 - 420). St Jerome is one of the foremost Scripture scholar in the Church. He translated the Bible into Latin and his translation, the Vulgate was used by the Church as the official version for over 1000 years.

St Jerome's most famous saying is:
"Ignorance of Scriptures is ignorance of Christ." Is your knowledge of Sacred Scripture scanty? The Church agrees with Jerome:
"The Church "forcefully and specifically exhorts all the Christian faithful. . . to learn the surpassing knowledge of Jesus Christ, by frequent reading of the divine Scriptures. Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ." (CCC 133).

Consider our lead Scripture for today:
"The Son of Man came to serve
and to give his life as a ransom for many." (Mark 10: 45). You cannot understand what this means until you have met Jesus in the pages of Sacred Scripture from the stories of Joseph in Genesis, David in the Book of Samuel, Daniel in the Book of Daniel and so forth. The Jesus of Scriptures say:
“These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the law of Moses and in the prophets and psalms must be fulfilled.” (Luke 24: 44).

What can you discover as precious as the Pearl of Great Price?
"When I discovered your words, I devoured them. They are my joy and my heart’s delight." (Jeremiah 15: 16 NLT).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Saturday, September 28, 2019

The Liturgical readings this Sunday focus on the Lazarus Principle.

"Thus says the Lord, the God of hosts: Woe to the complacent in Zion! Lying upon beds of ivory, stretched comfortably on their couches, they eat lambs taken from the flock, and calves from the stall." (Amos 6: 1, 4).

Sunday of the 26th week in Ordinary Time. All four readings in today's Liturgy address social conditions and justice. The poverty, ignorance and disease all around us cry for remedy.

In all the hopelessness in the current condition of the world, we are comforted by the truth of Scripture which reminds us of these perennial truths:

#1 God keeps faith forever.
#2 He gives food to the hungry.
#3 The Lord sets captives free.
#4 The Lord protects strangers.
#5 He sustains the widows and the orphans.

God our Father can do all the above directly by Himself. Why does He need our collaboration? God wants us to share in His work and glory. He wants us to build up credits for ourselves in heaven. The poor that we help here will speak up for us on the last day. Lazarus could not offer one good word in defense of the selfish rich man.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Friday, September 27, 2019

Grant me the serenity to accept the cross I cannot change.

“Pay attention to what I am telling you. The Son of Man is to be handed over to men..... and they were afraid to ask him about this saying." (Luke 9: 44 - 45).

Saturday of the 25th week in Ordinary Time. Who will blame the disciples for not wanting to hear more of the cross, suffering and death. Let's face it: the Cross is an unpleasant subject. Imagine your friend throwing a party to discuss cancer, war and famine. How many will be his guests and how enthusiastic would they be? Friends prefer to come together on a Saturday evening to celebrate wedding, promotion, house warming, baby shower, etc.

Our fear of the Cross is totally irrational, especially in the light of the Resurrection and 2000 years of Christian witness. It is very encouraging to note that the Holy Spirit is teaching us that the disciples of Jesus were terrified of the Cross at first. The important lesson is to know that they overcame the fear of the Cross and came to witness to the power of the Cross. Jesus Christ overcame Satan and death through the Cross. Since He is the Way. The Cross is also our Way.

Whether you are open to the Cross or dread it profoundly, know that no human being can escape the Cross. It is comforting to know that your Cross is tailor-made to fit you alone. As you say the prayer below every morning, your heart and mind will be conditioned to embrace your Cross.

"Grant me O Father the serenity to accept the cross I cannot change and the courage to change the things I can. Grant me the wisdom to know the difference. Amen."

"Our Saviour Jesus Christ abolished death and he has proclaimed life through the Good News." (Cf 2 Timothy 1: 10).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Is head knowledge of Jesus enough?

“Who do the crowds say that I am?”  They said in reply, “John the Baptist; others, Elijah; still others, ‘One of the ancient prophets has arisen.’”  Then he said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” (Luke 9: 18 - 20).

Friday of the 25th week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Vincent de Paul, Priest (1581 - 1660). For many people around the world, St Vincent de Paul needs no introduction. His name and prestige blesses the world-wide charitable organization that ministers spiritually and materially to the needs of the poor, the homeless and the very needy.

Toward the end of His public ministry, Jesus asked His disciples who He is. Through an inspiration from above, Peter got the answer correctly: “The Messiah of God.”
Today, Jesus has billions of followers. How many of Jesus followers know their Leader? Knowing Jesus involves two interconnected areas of knowledge:

#1 Facts about Jesus: Son of God, born of the Virgin Mary, was crucified, died and buried. He rose from the dead on the third day. He ascended into heaven. These facts are in the Creed of the Christian Churches.

#2 The second type of knowledge is spiritual knowledge of Jesus. This knowledge is experiencial. It comes through personal encounter with Jesus in Prayer, the word of God, Eucharist, Reconciliation and Ministry. The Holy Spirit whom we receive in the Sacrament of Baptism and Confirmation reveals to us who Jesus truly is.

Peter and the other disciples of Jesus could not truly know who Jesus is until they had experienced the shock of the Crucifixion and the Restoration of the Resurrection. With the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, they received the gifts and the tools to live their new life and embark on their mission.

Our Journey of Faith may follow this trajectory:
Head knowledge of Jesus >> Spiritual knowledge of Jesus >> The Holy Spirit power.
Where are you on this Journey?

"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me and sent me to preach the good news to the poor, to heal the broken-hearted." (Cf Luke 4: 18).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Some hear the Good News and are perplexed. Others hear and believe.

"Herod the tetrarch heard about all that was happening, and he was greatly perplexed." (Luke 9: 7).

Thursday of the 25th week in Ordinary Time is the feast of the twins, Saints Cosmas and Damian, martyrs (+303). Both were known for their medical skills and offered their services free of charge. Both were martyred under the Emperor Diocletian.

Faith comes from hearing. Hearing and believing the testimony of a credible witness is God's plan for transmission of faith. Those who have desperate needs come to faith much easier than people with no problems. King Herod heard about the miracles of Jesus and was greatly perplexed. He did not believe that something supernatural was happening in his backyard. Why? He felt he had no need that Jesus could relieve. See below people who heard about Jesus and believed:

"The centurion heard of Jesus and sent some elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and heal his servant." (Luke 7: 3 NIV).

#1. Syrophoenician woman: (Mark 7: 26, Matthew 15: 22).
#2. Zacchaeus: (Luke 19: 1 - 2 10)
#3. Timaeus: (Mark 10: 46 - 52).
#4. Father of the Demoniac: (Matthew 17: 14 - 20, Mark 9: 14 - 29, Luke 9: 37 - 43).
#5. Jairius: (Mark 5: 21 - 43, Matthew 9: 18 - 26, Luke 8: 40 - 56).

Principle: These people had needs. They heard about the miracles of Jesus. They believed. They sought out Jesus. They obtained their miracle. Jesus is still in the business of miracles.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Jesus sent His disciples to proclaim the kingdom of God.

"Jesus summoned the Twelve and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases,  and he sent them to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal [the sick]." (Luke 9: 1 - 2).

Wednesday of the 25th week in Ordinary Time. The disciples have been with Jesus now for some time. How much have they learned? How ready are they to exercise the powers that come as ministers of the kingdom of God?

Jesus fed the hungry, healed the sick, cast out demons. He taught the people about the kingdom of God. Teaching about the kingdom of God is the most important ministry of Jesus. Jesus is popularly known as Rabbi and not as healer or exorcist. Teaching about the kingdom of God continues to be the most important ministry of the Church.

"Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit,  teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” (Matthew 28: 19 - 20).

Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. Teach him to fish, you feed him for life.
The Church is in dire needs of catechists. Will you respond?

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Monday, September 23, 2019

Discovering the great pearl of hearing the word of God and keeping it.

"Happy are those who hear the word of God and keep it." (Luke 11: 28)

Tuesday of the 25th week in Ordinary Time. If you know with absolute certitude that hearing the word of God and keeping it will bring you the happiness and peace you yearn for, what will you do?

I will invest my last penny to find out how to do this. Jesus told a parable of a man who searched for a pearl of great value. He found it but discovered that to possess it, he must sell all that he has. He weighed the benefits and the cost and decided to go for the Great Pearl.

The word of God is the Pearl of Great Price. Since the time of Jesus, men and women have recognized the matchless value of the word of God and gave all they had to possess this treasure. They were not disappointed. This is why the Church points to this cloud of witnesses as its treasure and evidence that Christianity works. The enemies of Christianity will be hard pressed to find a reason why so many of the followers of Jesus of Nazareth have given up everything even life to follow Him.

“My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and act on it.” (Luke 8: 21).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Five Signs of dying Faith.

"To anyone who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he seems to have will be taken away.” (Luke 8: 18).

Monday of the 25th week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Pio of Pieltrecina, popularly known as Padre Pio (1887 - 1968). A Capuchin Friar who lived in the same monastery for 50 years. He is famous as a spiritual director, confessor and intercessor. By an act of Divine Providence, I was blessed with his relic in 2015.

Padre Pio entered the Capuchin Monastery at the age of 15. A mere boy, he had little in the way of this world's goods or in spiritual riches. He soon showed immense appetite for genuine riches or spiritual treasures. And in accordance with the spiritual law laid down by Jesus, Padre Pio grew into a giant.
"To anyone who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he seems to have will be taken away.” (Luke 8: 18).

In our Baptism, we receive the light of Christ and a variety of supernatural graces. If we show ourselves good managers of this treasure, they grow like a mustard seed. If we neglect these gifts, they shrivel until one day, they die. Look! People do not suddenly stop believing or stop coming to Church. Their faith has been dying slowly long before that mortuary day. What are the signs of dying faith?

#1 Doubts of the truths of faith.
#2 Critical attitude of things of God.
#3 Severe and critical attitude of the Church.
#4 Hostility against sacred Ministers.
#5 Witholding contributions to the Church.

These are just a few. When you notice these signs in family members or friends, you are obligated under the Spiritual Works of Mercy to:
#1 Instruct the ignorant.
#2 Counsel the doubtful.

Do not forget the universal remedy of prayer. St Monica prayed for St Augustine for many years. See what St Augustine turned out to be.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Do you worry about money?

"You cannot serve God and mammon.” (Luke 16: 13).

Sunday of the 25th week in Ordinary Time. How do you know if you are trying to serve God and mammon?

#1 Do you worry about money?
#2 Do you do non essential work on Sunday?
#3 Do you pay your debt in time?
#4 Do you give God time every day for prayer?
#5 Do you gamble? Play the lottery?
#6 Do you begrudge the Church your contributions?
#7 Do you worry about the stock market?

"For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Matthew 6: 21).
"They multiply their sorrows who court other gods." (Psalm 16: 4).

Remember:
"We brought nothing into the world, just as we shall not be able to take anything out of it." (1 Timothy 6: 7).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Friday, September 20, 2019

Follow Me. I will make you righteous and fisher of men.

"As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post. He said to him, “Follow me.” And he got up and followed him." (Matthew 9: 9).

Saturday of the 24th week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist. With regard to the call of Matthew, Jesus said:
"I did not come to call the righteous but sinners.” (Matthew 9: 13)

Other saints Jesus called who were not righteous:
Augustine, Francis, Dominic, Ignatius, Teresa, etc.
"Their message goes out through all the earth." (Cf Psalm 19).

"I have opened a door for you that no one can close." (Revelation 3: 8).

Lord Jesus, lead us , guide us and use us. Amen.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Thursday, September 19, 2019

How rich do you want to be?

"Those who want to be rich are falling into temptation and into a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires, which plunge them into ruin and destruction." (1 Timothy 6: 9).

Friday of the 24th week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Andrew Kim Taegon, priest and martyr and the Korean martyrs. 103 martyrs gave their lives to Christ between 1839 and 1867.

Our Scripture for today is wringing indictment of love of money.  When I was in college, it was vogue and smart to want to be rich. Still the same today. "Make all the money you can and then retire early." Even without knowing what I needed all the money for, I fell for the madness. Also in fashion at the time were self-help books like: THE RICHEST MAN IN BABYLON and THINK AND GROW RICH.
I am glad to say that God in His mercy rescued me from such evil thoughts.

Sacred Scripture has a lot to say about money both as filthy lucre and genuine riches. Let us take a few sampling from the first Reading from 1Timothy 6:

"For we brought nothing into the world, just as we shall not be able to take anything out of it."

"If we have food and clothing, we shall be content with that."

"For the love of money is the root of all evils, and some people in their desire for it have strayed from the faith and have pierced themselves with many pains."

These are plain truths for anyone to see.

The Korean Martyrs we celebrate today attained to everlasting life because they rejected the culture of money, money, money.

How happy are the poor in spirit: theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

God loves sinners who confess their sins.

"Her many sins have been forgiven; hence, she has shown great love. But the one to whom little is forgiven, loves little.”  (Luke 7: 47).

Thursday of the 24th week in Ordinary Time. How often do you go to Confession? The more often, the closer you are to God. The closer you are to God, the more effective your life, your ministry, work.

Those who love much because their many sins have been forgiven them:
#1 Peter the Chief Apostle.
#2 Paul the Greatest Apostle.
#3 Mary Magdalene the Apostle to the Apostles.

God loves sinners who confess their sins. Do you need one more example:
#4 David, the Greatest King of Israel.

The Sacrament of Reconciliation is the pathway to deep peace, joy and holiness. Go for it. It is free!

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

The Church is the Pillar and Foundation of truth.

"The church of the living God, [is] the pillar and foundation of truth." (1 Timothy 3: 15).

Wednesday of the 24th week in Ordinary Time. Our Scripture for today makes a huge claim for the body we call the Church: It is the Pillar and Foundation of truth. The Church in fact claims authority to teach the truth. Only one Church claims this authority. Below is how the Church stakes its claim:

"The Church, the "pillar and bulwark of the truth," "has received this solemn command of Christ from the apostles to announce the saving truth." "To the Church belongs the right always and everywhere to announce moral principles, including those pertaining to the social order, and to make judgments on any human affairs to the extent that they are required by the fundamental rights of the human person or the salvation of souls." (CCC 2032).

Why would God give such sweeping authority to the Church made up of sinful men like the Apostle Peter or Pope Francis? To understand the mind of Christ, let us see the authority that God gave to sin-prone human beings at the first creation:

"God blessed them [humans] and God said to them: Be fertile and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it. Have dominion over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and all the living things that crawl on the earth." (Genesis 1: 28).

In the first creation, God gave humans dominion over the earth. Men went ahead and built the Tower of Babel, went to the moon and experimented with eugenics. Today, man's stewardship of the earth is highly compromised.

The Church is the Baby of the second creation. Here is the charge from Jesus:
“All power in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.  And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age.” (Matthew 28: 18 - 20).
The Church therefore has the authority to teach all nations what Jesus Christ taught the Apostles.

Could the Church have lasted for decades without this authority?
"Without any doubt, the mystery of our religion is very deep indeed." (1 Timothy 3: 14).
"How great are the works of the Lord." (Responsorial Psalm 111 Refrain).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Monday, September 16, 2019

A Bishop must be irreproachable, not a lover of money.

"[A] Bishop must be irreproachable, married only once, temperate, self-controlled, decent, hospitable, able to teach,  not a drunkard, not aggressive, but gentle, not contentious, not a lover of money.  He must manage his own household well, keeping his children under control with perfect dignity." (1 Timothy 3: 2 - 4).

Tuesday of the 24th week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Robert Berllamine of the Society of Jesus. Our Scripture for today listed the qualities of a Bishop of the Church. It seems as if the author of 1 Timothy studied the life of St Robert Berllamine before writing the profile of the Bishop. The only difference is that Berllamine was celibate. As a Bishop and a Cardinal, he had a large household and treated members of his household with exemplary kindness and generosity. Born in 1542 in Tuscany, he lived during the tumultuous years of the Reformation. A highly respected scholar, he was also a very effective apologist. Because of his gentle and winsome character, he was listened to on both sides of the Reformation controversies.
St Robert Berllamine wrote a very successful Catechism.

St Robert Berllamine was irreproachable, celibate, temperate, self-controlled, decent, hospitable, able to teach,  not a drunkard, not aggressive, but gentle, not contentious, not a lover of money.
May God bless and prosper His Church with Bishops like St Robert Berllamine.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Lord, say but a word.

“Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof. Therefore, I did not consider myself worthy to come to you; but say the word and let my servant be healed." (Luke 7: 6 - 7).

Monday of the 24th week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Cornelius, Pope and St Cyprian, Bishop. Both were martyred in the 4th century.

In our Gospel pick for today, we marvel at the faith of the Roman Centurion. It is said that our faith grows when we read Sacred Scripture. The Centurion heard of the miraculous powers of Jesus and understood from his army experience that Jesus could heal his slave by a word of command given from anywhere.

Blessed John Henry Newman writes that when God asks us to trust Him, He does not demand the impossible. He gives us signs and at other times inner certitude to strengthen our faith. Think of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Abraham, David, Paul, etc. Our trust in God brings delight to the Heart of God. "When Jesus heard these words [of the Centurion] he was astonished at him and, turning round, said to the crowd following him, ‘I tell you, not even in Israel have I found faith like this.’ And when the messengers got back to the house they found the servant in perfect health." (Luke 7: 9 - 10).

Inspired by the professed faith of the Centurion, the Church says before Holy Communion:
"Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed." Just one word!

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Sin>>>>Suffering >>>>>Salvation.

"Coming to his senses he [the Prodigal] thought, ‘How many of my father’s hired workers have more than enough food to eat, but here am I, dying from hunger." (Luke 15: 17).

Sunday of the 24th week in Ordinary Time. The Scriptures this Sunday is so rich in spiritual nourishment. The first Reading from Exodus 32 can be summarized thus: The Lord relented in the punishment He planned for His people. In the 2nd Reading from 1 Timothy, Paul exclaimed how mercifully Jesus treated him. First, all his sins were wiped out. Then Jesus appointed Paul as a top apostle. But it is in the Gospel that we see God’s face of mercy in the Parable of the Prodigal Son.

Sin>>>Suffering >>>Salvation.
Sin leads sooner or later to brokenness. Brokenness softens the heart to receive the mercy waiting for the sinner. Without the hunger and misery of the Prodigal, he would never have come to the point where he said:
"I shall get up and go to my father and I shall say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you.  I no longer deserve to be called your son; treat me as you would treat one of your hired workers." (Luke 15: 18 - 19).

The Scriptures reveal to us this Sunday: Jesus Christ the Face of mercy of God the Father. How do we apply this truth to our needs?
Reconciliation! No Reconciliation, No personal experience of Mercy!
The ABC of Mercy:
Ask for Mercy.
Be Merciful.
Completely trust Jesus for Mercy.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Friday, September 13, 2019

The Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross.

"We should glory in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, in whom is our salvation, life and resurrection, through whom we are saved and delivered." (Cf Galatians 6: 14).

Saturday of the 23rd week in Ordinary Time is the great feast of the Exaltation of the Cross, also called the Triumph of the Cross. This ancient feast dates back to the 4th century.

How do you see the Cross? An instrument of torture and Roman execution of criminals? Or an altar of sacrifice of the Son of God for the Salvation of the world?

Jesus Christ embraced the Cross the Father decreed for Him and thus triumphed over sin, evil and death. Jesus reigned as King of the Universe from the holy Cross. A concept difficult to understand. Take it as truth from the Church.
How about you my brother and sister? Are you tempted to reject your Cross? To reject your Cross is to reject Jesus Christ and the Father's ordained means of salvation. Or are you tempted to think that your Cross is too heavy? Then think of this:

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11: 28 - 30).

When you embrace God’s gracious and mysterious will for you in everything, everywhere and always, you will know the peace of Jesus.

"We adore you, O Christ, and we bless you; because by your cross you have redeemed the world." (Gospel Acclamation).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Thursday, September 12, 2019

St John Chrysostom of Constantinople, great teacher and preacher.

"No disciple is superior to the teacher; but when fully trained, every disciple will be like his teacher." (Luke 6: 40).

Friday of the 23rd week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St John Chrysostom, Bishop and Doctor of the Church (349 - 407). As the Archbishop of Constantinople, John Chrysistom could have chosen a quiet, comfortable and non controversial life. Not Chrysostom, a great admirer of St Paul the Apostle, he worked very hard for the cause of the poor and the marginalized in his See. "When fully trained, every disciple will be like his teacher." (Luke 6: 40).
John Chrysostom was fully trained and became a great preacher and teacher in addition to his other ministries. We continue to enjoy today the vast writings he left behind.

Bishop John Chrysostom is known for his experience of great suffering in the course of the his ministry and left us an example of invincible patience. He died in exile.
St John Chrysostom, pray for us.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Love your enemies.

"Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,  bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you." (Luke 6: 27 - 28).

Thursday of the 23rd week in Ordinary Time is the Optional Memorial of the Most Holy Name of the Blessed Virgin Mary. To those who love Mary, no honor is enough. To those who do not love her, they begrudge her even the Blessedness that Scripture says is her entitlement for being full of grace and the Mother of the Redeemer.

Jesus proclaims: "I am the Way." That Way is the Way of the Cross. Could there be possibly any other way? If there is, the Holy Spirit would have revealed it to the Church. When you love those who hate and injure you, you behave exactly like Jesus. When you bless those who curse you, you bear your cross like Jesus, St Stephen the martyr and the saints.

When the tiny Christian community encountered the imperial power of Rome, they offered no resistance to the inhuman brutalization of imperial power. The Christians remembered  the ancient creed of the Church:

"Faith in God the Father Almighty can be put to the test by the experience of evil and suffering. God can sometimes seem to be absent and incapable of stopping evil. But in the most mysterious way God the Father has revealed his almighty power in the voluntary humiliation and Resurrection of his Son, by which he conquered evil. Christ crucified is thus "the power of God and the wisdom of God." (CCC 272).

In other words as Jesus teaches in our Gospel of today (Luke 6: 27 - 38), evil can only be overcome through the Cross. Wherever this doctrine is applied, the Cross has always been exalted.
"Let the message of Christ, in all its richness, find a home with you." (Colossians 3: 15).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it.

“Blessed are you who are poor, for the kingdom of God is yours......But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation." (Luke 6: 20,.. 24).

Wednesday of the 23rd week in Ordinary Time. In Luke's Beatitudes (Sermon on the Plain), Jesus promises the kingdom of God to those who are poor, not necessarily those deprived of material goods and comforts but those whose treasure is in heaven. These are the holy ones who have heard the message of the kingdom of God, of eternal life that is ushered in by the ministry of Jesus Christ and seeks it as first priority. These Christians start right here and right now to enjoy the eternal life that is the kingdom of God.

But those whose hearts are in their wealth receive their compensation here on earth for 50, 70, 90 or at most 100 years. And here on earth, they must defend their wealth from taxes, robbers, rust, inflation, etc. They will be weary defending their excess riches. Jesus promises a better way in the Beatitudes:

“Blessed [spiritually prosperous, happy, to be admired] are you who are poor [in spirit, those devoid of spiritual arrogance, those who regard themselves as insignificant], for the kingdom of God is yours [both now and forever]. (Luke 6: 20 AMP).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Monday, September 09, 2019

After a night spent in prayer, Jesus chose the 12.

"Jesus departed to the mountain to pray, and he spent the night in prayer to God. When day came, he called his disciples to himself, and from them he chose Twelve, whom he also named apostles." (Luke 6: 12 - 13).

Tuesday of the 23rd week in Ordinary Time. It is time for Jesus to choose and call His close friends.

After a night spent in prayer, Jesus undertakes one of the most important tasks in His mission: Choosing His 12 Apostles. No nation takes lightly the choice of its leaders. Elections are organized and campaigns undertaken for a couple of years.

We see a variety of gifts and personalities in the 12 men chosen to be close collaborators of Jesus. All the men were from lower class of society, poor, uneducated, untraveled and timid. Jesus Himself would be their Teacher and Master while He remained with them. Then the Holy Spirit will finish the job of preparing them for their lives' work.

Do you find it fun criticizing your Bishop? Do you realize that they are the direct successors of the Apostles? They need your prayers and not your acidic criticisms. Have you removed the beam in your eyes so that you can see clearly before you try to remove the beam in your Bishop's eyes? Be careful because as you judge so shall you be judged. (Cf Matthew 7: 2).

"You are just, O Lord, and your judgement is right; treat your servant in accord with your merciful love." (Psalm 118: 137, 124).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Sunday, September 08, 2019

Can we really fill up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ?

"Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in the afflictions of Christ on behalf of his body, which is the Church." (Colossians 1: 24).

Monday of the 23rd week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Peter Claver of the Society of Jesus (1580 - 1654), Priest and Religious. As a Jesuit missionary in South America, he was placed by Providence to care for thousands of African slaves as they arrived in the Americas to start their enforced slavery. Peter fed the hungry, cared for the sick and dying. It is estimated that he baptized about 300,000 in his 40 years of ministry.

Our Scripture of today is puzzling. Jesus Christ overcame evil not by fight or flight but my total submission. The Church goes on to teach:
"But in the most mysterious way God the Father has revealed his almighty power in the voluntary humiliation and Resurrection of his Son, by which he conquered evil. Christ crucified is thus "the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men." It is in Christ's Resurrection and exaltation that the Father has shown forth "the immeasurable greatness of his power in us who believe". (CCC 272).

We share in the Exaltation of the Cross today by embracing God's gracious and mysterious will in our life. You may think that this is easy. If you commit to doing it always, everywhere and in everything, you are on your way to sainthood. When you learn to offer up all your sufferings in union with Jesus, it is powerful and can be the one single thing that breaks any yoke.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Saturday, September 07, 2019

Before embarking on a new project, count the cost.

"This one began to build but did not have the resources to finish." (Luke 14: 30).

Sunday of the 23rd week in Ordinary Time. When you embark on a new project: building a home, a new career, volunteering for a new ministry, etc. Rule #1 is sit down and count the cost. This will save you embarrassment and mockery from friends, family and neighbors. The stakes are higher when you make a vow to God. You can not walk away from it.

The message of the 23rd Sunday can be expressed thus: God approves of those who seek first His Kingdom and give it their All. Jesus our Captain invites us to take His yoke upon ourselves and learn from Him.

“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." (John 14: 6). Don't deceive yourself by looking for an easy way. The only way is the Cross. If we are the first to go through this way, you may be excused if you consider it an impossibility. But we have a cloud of witnesses that have gone this way before us.

This morning, I was humbled to sit in the exact spot Mother St Teresa of Kolkata sat when she visited the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Atlanta, Georgia in 1995. Some other people have been in the very spots Pope St John Paul II was in his various visits to the US. Some of the clouds of witnesses might be sitting beside you in your parish this Sunday.

If Jesus is the light of the world, then follow Him. "I am the light of the world; who ever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." (John 8: 12).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Friday, September 06, 2019

Why are doing what is unlawful on the sabbath?

“Why are you doing what is unlawful on the sabbath?” (Luke 6: 2).

Saturday of the 22nd week in Ordinary Time. What are you doing on the Sabbath? We should be doing Praise and Worship. The Lord of the Sabbath teaches that there could be discrete exception to this rule.

"Remember the sabbath day—keep it holy." (Exodus 20: 8). The command to set apart the Sabbath is very important as seen from the way it is treated in Sacred Scriptures. It is the exaggerated concern for the obligation and sanctity of the Sabbath Rest that gave rise to hundreds of minutiae rules concerning the basic command to keep holy the Lord's Day. Throughout the Christian history, the Magisterium of the Church has not only expounded on the sacred character of the Sabbath but has taught that the Sabbath was instituted for the enjoyment of the People of God. It is a day of worship of God. A day of rest for the whole family from the hustle and bustle involved in making a living. It is a day to enjoy the parks, watch Christian movies. It is a day to visit the sick in the hospital.

The Sabbath Rest is Rehearsal for Eternal life. One day, there will be no work. By obeying the law of the Sabbath, you build up your faith in this promise of God. God plans to redeem man and creation from the present servitude.

It is more enjoyable to keep holy the Lord's Day than to do anything unlawful on the Sabbath Rest.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Thursday, September 05, 2019

Jesus is the Icon of the invisible God.

"He [Jesus Christ] is the image of the invisible God." (Colossians 1: 15).

Friday of the 22nd week in Ordinary Time is First Friday in September. We honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The first Reading from Colossians 1 is a beautiful celebration in words of the Preeminence of Jesus Christ both in His Sacred Person and His work.

Jesus is the image [icon] of our God who is invisible. He is the pleroma (fullness) of the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit. Consider the 7 gifts of the Holy Spirit for a moment: Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, Fortitude, Knowledge, Piety, Fear of the Lord. Let us complete the picture of Deity by bringing in the 12 fruits of the Holy Spirit: Charity, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Generosity, Gentleness, Faithfulness, Modesty, Self-control and Chastity. Both the gifts and the fruits of the Holy Spirit form the complete picture of Jesus Christ.

Example:
"O Lord, you are good and forgiving, [Just as Jesus is good and forgiving] full of mercy to all who call to you." [Just as Jesus is full of mercy to all who call to Him.] (Psalm 85: 5).

John wrote that in the fullness of time, we shall all be like Jesus. We shall be God as St Basil the Great wrote. "Through the Spirit we acquire a likeness to God; indeed, we attain what is beyond our most sublime aspirations – we become God." At the moment, we are being christified degree by degree through the molding of our character by the Holy Spirit.

Brothers and sisters, do you know of any obstacles to this process of christification in your life today? Reject it. It is not worth it.

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Honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus this Friday.

September 6, 2019 - First Friday in September.

The 12 Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus which Jesus made through St Margaret Mary Alacoque to all who honor His Sacred Heart especially on the First Friday of every month. In the 9th month of the year 2019, we look at Promise #9.

#9.  "I will bless the homes in which the image of My Sacred Heart shall be exposed and honored."

This is a very easy condition to fulfill. Buy the Sacred Heart of Jesus picture from a Catholic Bookstore or Amazon and place it in a prominent place in your home. Now you can pray to Jesus: Bless my home as You promised. I honor Your Sacred Heart image displayed in my home.

Honor the Sacred Heart of Jesus this Friday by attending Holy Mass.

For the 12 Promises of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, click the link below:

http://sfjweb.com/?q=content/sacred-heart-12-promises

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To read the Blog proper to today, Friday - 09/06/2019, visit:
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Wednesday, September 04, 2019

I will do whatever You command me.

“Put out into deep water and lower your nets for a catch.” Simon said in reply, “Master, we have worked hard all night and have caught nothing, but at your command I will lower the nets.” (Luke 5: 4 - 5).

Thursday of the 22nd week in Ordinary Time. How would you react if someone who apparently knows nothing about cars walked into your garage and tells you how to fix a complex problem your mechanics have been grappling with for many hours? Peter told Jesus that as experienced fishermen, they had done everything possible and caught no fish. And then he added something absolutely inspired: "But at your command I will lower the nets.” O that I may have such common sense and inspiration if I am in such a situation!

This Gospel incident reminds us of the Wedding feast at Cana. Mary told the stewards: “Do whatever he tells you.” (John 2: 5).

Obedience to God even when the command makes absolutely no sense yields a miracle. This is the pattern throughout Sacred Scripture. May the Lord grant us the obedience of faith.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Tuesday, September 03, 2019

I have been sent to proclaim the kingdom of God.

“To the other towns also I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God, because for this purpose I have been sent.” (Luke 4: 43).

Wednesday of the 22nd week in Ordinary Time. Jesus made a solemn declaration of the Purpose for His Incarnation in our chosen Scripture for today: To preach the Good News of the Kingdom of God.

Let us unpack the message in Luke 4: 43. First Jesus stated that the Good News must be preached everywhere and not just in some towns with the exclusion of others. God's will is the salvation of the whole world.

What is the core of the Good News? The core of the Good News is the substance of the preaching of Peter and the other Apostles after the experience of Pentecost. This is also called the Apostolic Kerygma. It is Kerygma (Proclamation) and not arguments or futile debates. It is the word of God, the word of life without error. Accept it or not accept it.

The central element of the Good News and the Proclamation is the Kingdom of God. The Kingdom of God is the Reign of God in the world. It has its seed in the Church. It is here and now. Its fullness will come in the future (Parousia) when there will be the new heaven and the new earth. The kingdom was inaugurated by Jesus Christ on the cross where the Son of Man inflicted a humiliating defeat on Satan and opened for us the gate of life everlasting. Anyone who believes in the truth that Christ died, rose from the dead and in His name salvation comes to all is enjoying eternal life here and now. Jesus Christ already reigns in the person. The person lives and knows that King Jesus is in control of his health, family, finances, job, possessions, etc.

If Jesus is your King, then you must join Him to bring these glad tidings everywhere.

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Monday, September 02, 2019

Jesus taught with authority. Feast of St Gregory the Great.

"Jesus then went down to Capernaum, a town of Galilee. He taught them on the sabbath, and they were astonished at his teaching because he spoke with authority." (Luke 4: 31 - 32).

Tuesday of the 22nd week in Ordinary Time is the feast of St Gregory the Great (540 - 604), Pope and Doctor of the Church. St Gregory was a prominent prefect (mayor) of Rome who used his wealth to found six monasteries before he was elected Pope. He is noted in history for instituting liturgical reforms and initiating missionary endeavors. It was due to St Gregory that missionaries were first sent to England.

We know that the most popular title of Jesus among the people is Rabbi (the Teacher). In today's Gospel Reading, we find out why. Jesus taught the people with authority. (verse 32). This contrasts with the teachings of the Pharisees and the lawyers who were fond of long quotations of references to support whatever they say. It also contrasts with the teachings of modern professors and authors who teach like the Pharisees and lawyers of the time of Jesus: long quotations and references. Jesus taught with simplicity and authority.

Lord Jesus, You gave Your Church the mission to teach all nations what You taught the Apostles, give our teachers the gift of the Holy Spirit so that they can teach the Faith with simplicity and authority.

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com

Sunday, September 01, 2019

This Scripture is fulfilled Today.

"He [Jesus]... went according to his custom into the synagogue on the sabbath day....... He unrolled the scroll and found the passage where it was written:
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.” (Luke 4: 16 to 19).

Monday of the 22nd week in Ordinary Time. In our Scripture for today, Jesus did in the synagogue in His home town Nazareth what He had never done before. He stated clearly for everyone to hear that He is the Man, the Messiah chosen to fulfill the long held promises and desires of the people.

“Today this scripture passage is fulfilled in your hearing.” (Luke 4: 21). What does this bold proclamation remind us?

“Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation, which you prepared in sight of all the peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel.” (Luke 2: 29 - 32).
Simeon the Prophet, a devout man filled with the Holy Spirit testified that "Today" God fulfilled His promise to Israel when he held the Child Jesus in the Temple.

Does the Spirit of God in you ever tug your heart to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free?
Consider these ministries:
#1 Social Justice
#2 Prison Ministry
#3 Cathechesis
#4 Evangelization

Lord Jesus, lead us, guide us and use us.

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Saturday, August 31, 2019

It is not from chance springs every comfort or good gift you enjoy.

"God of might, giver of every good gift, put into our hearts the love of your name, so that, by deepening our sense of reverence, you may nurture in us what is good and, by your watchful care, keep safe what you have nurtured.... ." (Collect, 22nd Sunday in Ordinary Time).

Sunday of the 22nd week in Ordinary Time. We take our reflection today from the Collect (Opening Prayer) in today's Liturgy. An ancient and constant teaching of the Church states that "Lex orandi, lex credendi, lex vivendi." The law of prayer is the law of faith. Also as you pray, so you live. (Lex vivendi).

What difference does it make to you to know that every good thing comes from God? The two concepts that transformed how I relate to God are:

#1 Every good thing comes from God. (James 1: 17).
#2 It is not from chance comes any of our comfort but from God's gracious ordaining. (Cf 2 Corinthians 1: 3).

How have these related concepts transformed my relationship with God? I made a timeline of my life from the earliest years, decade by decade noting all the landmarks I can remember. Today I reviewed one of the decades and was stunned to see a pattern in God's interventions in my life. I exclaimed quietly to myself: "I know these are not accidents."

God’s powerful and loving Providence is one of the sweetest revelations in Sacred Scripture. Make a timeline of your your life and see for yourself how God's Providence works for you.

"You poured down, O God, a generous rain: when your people were starved you gave them new life." (Psalm 68: 10, Responsorial Psalm).

Daily Bible Verse @ SeekFirstcommunity.com